CVs have only nine seconds to impress

Employers spend on average less than nine seconds scanning a candidate’s CV before moving on to the next, due to the huge volume of applications per vacancy.

One expert likened the process to the casual dating app Tinder, renowned for the speed at which users scroll through profiles before they find one — or more — they like.

The findings are based on a survey of 500 employers by OnePoll last month for National Citizen Service, a volunteering programme run by charities and others and set up at the behest of David Cameron.

It found the average time that employers spend scanning a CV was 8.8 seconds and half said they did so in 6 seconds, after applications per role shot up from 46 last year to 93. Piers Linney, who appears in the BBC series Dragons’ Den and runs an IT business, Outsourcery, said young people looking for their first job needed to make their applications stand out rather than list exam grades.

“The process of reviewing CVs has become almost ‘Tinderised’ with each CV given just a few seconds to stand out against the competition before being kept or cast aside,” he said.

The survey found that most employers thought the ideal CV should be kept to two pages and most preferred an Ariel font, using point size 11. What they most wanted was evidence of skills and interests beyond school achievements, such as initiative, drive, communication skills and motivation.

Despite employers being forbidden to ask applicants their date of birth, people over the age of 50 are deleting “O-Levels” from their CVs in an attempt to be considered for vacancies, as the outdated exams show their age.

About Steve Young

Steve Young is the Managing Partner of Downtown Recruitment who are based in Thame, Oxfordshire. Downtown Recruitment provide a wide variety of temporary and permanent staff to the local area covering a wide range of disciplines across the commercial and industrial sectors. View Downtown Recruitment's main website
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